CNN

National Park Service to waive entrance fees (at open parks) to aid social distancing

Mar 18, 2020, 2:43 PM | Updated: 5:55 pm
park service waives fees...
The National Park Service has waived entrance fees to hundreds of parks to help families plan activities in the age of social distancing. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Getty Images)
Originally Published: 18 MAR 20 15:48 ET

(CNN) — Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has directed the National Park Service to the waive entrance fees at all national parks that remain open during the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to aid public social distancing.

“This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks,” Bernhardt said in a news release Wednesday.

“Our vast public lands that are overseen by the Department offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing.”

The step comes as more than 7,500 people have been infected by the virus in the US, and at least 125 have died. In response, states are ordering new shutdowns and restrictions every day and public health officials are encouraging the public to stay home and practice social distancing to contain the spread of the virus.

Still, while the National Park Service has temporarily closed some parks, the vast majority remain fully or partially open — though “many facilities will be closed.”

In an open letter released earlier this month, an organization representing National Park Service retirees called on the agency to introduce broader closures to protect the staff and the public.

Chair Phil Francis of The Coalition to Protect America’s Parks argues that “to suggest to the public that gathering at national park sites is acceptable … is irresponsible to the visiting public and employees.”

“National parks welcome visitors from around the world,” Francis writes. “Many National Park Service employees interact with members of the public daily.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

FORT MYERS BEACH, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 02:   In this aerial view,  destruction left in the wake of Hur...
Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Florida faces an ’emotional roller coaster’ as search for Hurricane Ian survivors continues

Many of the Ian-related deaths -- 42 -- have been reported in southwestern Florida's Lee County, which includes Fort Myers and Sanibel Island.
1 day ago
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Sacheen Littlefeather on stage at AMPAS Presents An Evening...
Toyin Owoseje, CNN

Sacheen Littlefeather, Native American activist and actress, dead at 75

In August, the Academy formally apologized to Littlefeather for the mistreatment she experienced during her speech and in the years that followed.
1 day ago
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said that he will vote against any potential congressional d...
Devan Cole, CNN

Rubio vows to oppose potential Hurricane Ian aid package if lawmakers ‘load it up with stuff that’s unrelated to the storm’

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said he will vote against any potential congressional disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Ian if lawmakers "load it up with stuff that's unrelated to the storm."
2 days ago
Damage from Hurricane Ian...
Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Death toll rises to 67 in Florida after Hurricane Ian rendered some communities ‘unrecognizable,’ officials say

Days after Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida, shell-shocked residents are still assessing the damage left behind by record-high storm surge, damaging winds and catastrophic flooding
2 days ago
Amazon email...
Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business

Amazon is always watching

At an invite-only press event last week, Amazon unveiled a long list of product updates ahead of the holiday shopping season that appear designed to further insert its gadgets and services into every corner of our homes with the apparent goal of making everything a little easier.
2 days ago
At least 127 people are dead and hundreds more injured, police say, after chaos and violence erup...
Heather Chen, Raja Razek and Kareem El Damanhoury, CNN

Indonesia stadium riot: At least 127 people reported dead following soccer match, police say

At least 127 people are dead and hundreds more injured, police say, after chaos and violence erupted late on Saturday following an Indonesian league soccer match between two of the nation's biggest teams.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
National Park Service to waive entrance fees (at open parks) to aid social distancing